Brits in Toronto has been searching the city for nigh on 19 years and counting for the quintessential proper authentic “British curry” and has — thus far — come up short. And we’ve been to a LOT of curry houses in and around the GTA. (A couple have come close if you look back at some of our totally biased product reviews.)
That may have changed yesterday when we checked out the London Gate British Pub. According to the owner and head chef, Harry — a Yorkshireman who lived in Scotland for 20 years before moving to Ashford, Kent and who has cooked in a lot of Indian restaurants — wants to bring that real British curry taste to Toronto.
First things first. This is a little off the beaten track at Eglinton Avenue West and Renforth Drive. Harry says they will be on Skip The Dishes at some point.
Secondly, it doesn’t look like a British pub from the outside so you may drive right past it. There is a Guinness sign outside to clue you in. Plus lots of parking.
The space is HUGE with a patio, pool table and semi-private room that can presumably be booked for events.
So, food and drink I hear you ask? Here’s the tap list. Pretty impressive. We sampled the Honey Dew and it was very nice.
The bangers and mash with caramelized onions and gravy was also good, but lost points because Canadian baked beans were used instead of British-style baked beans. Harry explained that they are too expensive. We countered that they are now freely available in Canada and maybe can be included as an optional side for an extra dollar or something. Harry rubbed his chin and looked thoughtful at that suggestion, so stay tuned.
The kicker was the Yorkshire Pudding wrap with garlic aioli, mixed cheese, caramelized onions, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, drizzled with gravy and served with fries. Choice of protein: chicken, sliced roast beef or soy. (Lots of veggie and vegan options here too.) This was a very large wrap so come hungry. It’s like a roast dinner wrapped up on a plate!
So, we got chatting about the curry options on the menu at that point. There’s tandoori chicken flatbread, butter chicken rice bowl, English curry and chips and chicken tikka naan. Harry was kind enough to bring us out a sample bowl of the butter chicken and it was delicious. No oily ghee, not greasy. Just a really good flavour. (Ate it too fast to snap a photo.)
BREAKING NEWS! Saved the best till last. You know when you’ve had a few pints and really crave a doner kebab? Not shawarma … or gyro … but a real doner? Well, Harry is putting those on the menu soon too. And we tried his house-made red sauce, the real stuff that is hard to get here. It is excellent. We were eating it with a spoon and wanted more.
So, find a designated driver and head to London Gate. We give it a Brits in Toronto 4/5 stars. (Harry — please introduce the doner and offer British baked beans and we’ll have a chin wag about the coveted 5th star …)